U.S. Supreme Court Shields “People Search” Companies from Class-Action Lawsuits Arising from Minor Mistakes

David G. Savage reported in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “The Supreme Court on Monday shielded online databanks and ‘people search’ companies from class-action lawsuits arising from the posting of minor mistakes.

“The justices in a 6-2 ruling set aside, for now, a class-action suit against Spokeo Inc., a Pasadena-based provider of online personal profiles that are based on publicly available data.

“The company was sued by Thomas Robins, who was surprised to see his Spokeo profile describe him as married, with children, affluent, in his 50s and holding a graduate degree. None of this was correct, he said.”

Mr. Savage explained that, “The Spokeo case raised alarms for online providers of information, including Facebook and Google, because of the possibility of class-action lawsuits. If the claim by Robins had been upheld, he could have served as the lead plaintiff representing a huge class of people who could make the same claim. The other online giants feared a wave of mass lawsuits based on alleged errors.”

The decision does not end the case. It will now go back to the lower courts where the lawyers for Robins can try to show that the errors in his profile hurt or damaged him personally,” the L.A. Times article added.

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